4.1 General context
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The main challenges related to social inclusion of young people in Lithuania are youth unempoyment and integration in the labour market, non-formal education and youth entrepreneurship. Socially excluded young people usually come from socially vulnerable families; from families whose parental rights were limited; from orphanages; youth living in remote/rural areas; children of migrant workers and immigrants; children of ethnic minorities; young people with any physical or mental disabilities; unemployed young people. Youth unemployment rates in Lithuania are generally higher than unemployment for other age groups and young people are twice as likely to be unemployed as the adult population. Employment prospects of the young people are considerably affected by their gender, educational attainment and previous work experience (difficulties to meet the requirements of employers, lack of skills (esp. foreign languages, computer literacy). Lithuania has a rather low number of early school leavers as the majority number of youth of 18-19 years old are studying in general education schools or have an opportunity to acquire secondary education with professional qualification in vocational training schools. The youth unemployment rate has been high in Lithuania even in periods of low unemployment of the total population. According to Eurostat data, youth unemployment has been constantly decreasing (in 2015 – 16.3 percent, in 2016 – 14.5 percent, in 2017 – 13.3 percent), but in 2018 still remained higher than the overall unemployment rate, i.e. the youth unemployment rate was 11.1 percent, and the overall unemployment rate was 6.2 percent. According to the data of the Employment Service, in 2019 at the beginning 39 percent unemployed youth did not have adequate professional qualifications. Young people face higher risk to become unemployed because of lack of working experience and difficult transitions from education to working life. Mismatches between educational and labour market supply determines a number of over-qualified and under-qualified youth, who are not able to find appropriate employment. Unsuccessful integration into the labour market and lack of employment are one of the most important negative factors influencing the emergence of many other youth problems, i.e. social exclusion, spread of addictive behaviour, incapacity to pay for studies and purchase housing. Cosequently, economic emigration is prelevant among young people because of the obstacles in home labour market. According to the data of the Lithuanian State Data Agency, in 2022 there were 20.4 thousand young people who were not working, not studying or participating in training. The majority of young unemployed persons registered in employment services do not have adequate professional qualifications or work experience and experience social risk, live in remote localities and/or are in difficult economic and family situation. Many NEETS have limited social skills or exibit tendency to asocial behavior. Frequently alongside special needs, many NEETS suffer from emotional and behavioural disorders.
Socially excluded are young people: 1) from families, that are socially vulnerable; 2) from families whose parental rights are limited; 3) from orphanages; 4) living in rural areas; 5) children of migrant workers and immigrants; 6) children of ethnic minorities 7) young people with any physical or mental disabilities; 8) those who are unemployed.
Persons experiencing social exclusion are persons (families) who, for certain reasons, are separated from various areas of social life. Persons experiencing social exclusion can be considered both at-risk and socially vulnerable persons at the same time. Social integration activities - activities that promote the restoration and increase of a person's social independence and work capacity, professional competence and capacity to participate in the labor market (e.g. assessment of a person's social and other service needs, individual and group motivation, information, counseling, mediation, representation, psychosocial support , socio-cultural services, development and support of social skills, vocational guidance and counseling, development of general abilities, development of professional skills, active labor market policy measures, assistance with employment and employment) (definitions from here).